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The mood at West Ham is decidedly sour after their 1-0 loss to strugglers Crystal Palace last night. Sam Allardyce's side came back from Selhurst Park empty handed after former Hammer Marouane Chamakh headed home the winner, handing Allardyce his third defeat in the last four Premier League games.
The Hammers drew yet another blank in front of goal, but Allardyce was fuming after Stewart Downing had a seemingly good goal ruled out by the officials. Assistant boss Neil McDonald said: "Sam is still a bit livid after the performance, not just of our players, but the officials. We feel a bit hard done by with the goal that we scored that was given as a foul."
"We put in a great performance on Saturday and obviously we wanted to build on that and carry on, but it was frustrating on Tuesday because when you go 1-0 down you want to have a good response. You can't go 1-0 up in every game so the response is important - we still had 50 minutes to get a goal and then go on to try and win the game but it didn't happen.”
"They hadn't really created any chances up until the goal, and they've got a new manager who everybody knows is very keen on set plays. It was always going to be key for us to be good on the set plays, but we've conceded from one. We have to make sure that we have a good game and a good response at Liverpool now."
A huge concern for West Ham has to be the form of skipper Kevin Nolan. The midfielder hit 10 goals last season, but has failed to score since the opening day of the season. Hammers fans are losing their patience with the former Bolton and Newcastle man, and Allardyce was equally unimpressed, replacing captain Nolan after just 59 minutes against Palace.
Fellow midfielder Mark Noble has leapt to Nolan's defence though, saying: "Kev is brilliant in the dressing room and he has been unbelievable for us. He is big enough and strong enough to handle all that sort of stuff, so I am sure he will be fine. He is the gaffer's man and he looks after the dressing room and all of the problems in there. You need someone like that. I do not think the gaffer has taken him off because of the way he was playing, he just wanted to change things."
image: © Tony Austin